Hissing Prigs Review

So yo’ bowels is all stopped up fum all dem black-eyed peas ‘n’ hogjaw? Slap this puck into your home entertainment center and you’ll likely be soiling the whole damn trailer park! Is this a good thing? Depends on your personal concept of entertainment. But hey, it’s better than another night of “Roseanne” reruns, gotta admit.

This is annoying stuff. Brainiac, a fearless foursome from Dayton, delights in tricks like voice manipulation, wacky noises, unintelligible screeching, disturbing tempo jolts, pummeling percussion, off-key tuning, and other forms of audio torture designed to disrupt a sane person’s brainwaves. Ideas bounce off each other in a seemingly random, remote-control manner, sometimes undermining their potential impact but keeping you on constant alert, as you’re dodging one spaz attack only to get popped in the nose with another. Much like our pals Six Finger Satellite, they combine the guitar theories of “indie rock” with the new wave relic the synthesizer, but while that Rhode Island outfit seems more inspired by Devo and Krautrock, Brainiac wears its respect for Pixies and Ubu on its tattered sleeve. This is the band’s third full length, after two on Grass Records, and finds them far more focused than before, taking full advantage of the studio at last, and successfully harnessing the scary riot that is their intense live show.

This album came out, like, last summer or something, but it’s still worth talking about. Plus, they just recorded a new EP in Chicago, with the estimable Jim O’Rourke behind the boards which is due out in the spring. Better forewarn your neighbors now. Back to you, Chet… (Touch & Go, POB 25520, Chicago, IL 60625)